Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen warns councillors

Hun Sen warns councillors

Hun Sen warns councillors

090129_01.jpg
090129_01.jpg

Photo by:

HENG CHIVOAN

Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks Wednesday at a decentralisation conference in Phnom Penh.  

PRIME Minister Hun Sen has warned that future district, provincial and municipal councillors - to be elected through indirect nationwide elections in May - should not meddle in foreign affairs, despite the impending devolution of political power to the sub-national level.

Hun Sen, speaking to more than a hundred high-ranking government officials at Chaktomuk Theatre Wednesday during a decentralisation conference, highlighted the Taiwan-China dispute as one in which council members should hold their tongues.

"After the election, if the councils become independent and recognise Taiwanese independence, it will be wrong, as there is no such law," Hun Sen said, referring to Beijing's commitment to a "peaceful reunification" with Taiwan.

"Cambodia recognises the one-China policy," he said.

Cheam Yeap, spokesman of the ruling Cambodian People's Party , said that the prime minister was merely expressing concerns that the new councils may become confused about central government policy.

"The premier's message was to repeat government policy so that the new councils understand our foreign policy," he said.

On May 17, Cambodia will hold its first elections for positions on district, provincial and municipal councils as part of the government's drive to transfer more decision-making powers to the local level.

Hun Sen said also that the central government does not have sufficient ability to effectively provide public services in the Kingdom's remotest areas, and that it was preparing local administrations by equipping them with staff, finances and other resources.

"We hope that the reform will provide better services and bring about a reduction in poverty," he said, adding that after the May elections, councils will be able to remove local officials if their performance falls below a certain level.

But Sam Rainsy Party  lawmaker Yim Sovann said that since the only eligible voters were sitting members of the country's commune councils, local people would have no hand in electing new officials.

"People are not able to express their rights to elect their leaders in their districts and provinces," he said. "The SRP will participate in the election. We will have our representatives, who will act as a watchdog over local developments."

MOST VIEWED

  • US to ramp up sanctions after ‘flawed’ national polls

    At a press conference on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it would expand visa sanctions on the Cambodian officials and individuals it deems responsible for “undermining democracy” in Cambodia. At the briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that the department regarded the July 29 elections

  • PM's Bodyguard commander hits back at US

    The commander of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit (BGU) Hing Bun Heang on Sunday dismissed a short video clip that went viral on social media in which he says he is preparing for a war with the United States over its aggressiveness towards

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth